Still, Bat and I both realized that the information garnered from that interview could prove pretty valuable if it panned out. If someone had set-up a base from which they carried out “a plan” (any plan), a perpetual rent house was a pretty good starting place. Neighbors wouldn’t notice if new people moved in—or moved out. However, if the fact that the house had been replaced (with a really old tree!) hadn’t been noticed by the neighbors, I was going to be really surprised. Rural neighbors tend to keep an eye out on the local goings on. They might not think much about a new family moving into a rent house, but I bet they’d notice if someone tore down the rent house and planted a full-grown tree.
The next day, which happened to be October 1 (not that the day is in any way germane to this story, I just thought the sentence needed it), Marianne and Bat drove out to the remains of the house on the Leuders Highway. Marianne was looking a little better by the fall than she had been when he first met her in the summer. She had put on a little weight (very little) but it was enough to make her not look like muscles stretched over bones. She also looked a little more relaxed. We all wondered whether it were just the passage of time, or the fact that she was working on something—and something that might make her past go away at that.
She liked hearing about the Marianne who was off at college, but expressed no interest in going there herself, which her family found odd. I think it was because if she went off to college it meant she’d given up on the idea that her year away could be taken away. As long as she was working with Bat, she could convince herself that the future might not be as bad as the present.